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Violent Games Bill On Tap In Florida 69

Posted by Zonk
from the another-day-another-bill dept.
Gamespot is reporting that a violent games bill similar to the one recently signed into law in California is being considered in Florida. From the article: "The bill bears more than a passing resemblance to the game restriction bill California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed into law. The language for what constitutes a 'violent video game' is identical, as are the $1,000 limit on fines resulting from breaking the law and the requirement that violent games be labeled with a 2-inch-by-2-inch sticker depicting a solid white '18' outlined in black. About the only difference between the two bills is that Diaz de la Portilla's legislation makes it illegal for violent games to be made available to minors in arcades as well as in stores."
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Violent Games Bill On Tap In Florida

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  • by thepotoo (829391)
    As has and will be said a thousand times on these news articles: WTF!

    It is the parent's responsability to control and limit their kid's gaming choices, not the government's. I really hope that this doesn't get passed.

    I swear, if parents spent as much time with their kids as they did talking on their cell phones, America wouldn't be as fucked up as it is today.

    If you live in florida, for god's sake, write to the lawmakers and tell them not to do this!

    • Re:Heh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RingDev (879105) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:22AM (#13889150) Homepage Journal
      I have no problem monitoring what games on my computer my son plays (expecially since he's 2 LOL) but there are a few problems here.

      1) If my child does buy something that I don't think is appropriate, I can not return it.

      2) With the advent of live CDs it is possible for a minor to run a violent video game on the PC with out leaving behind any sign of it. And as much as I want to keep an eye on my child, I also need to work to provide food, clothing and a house for him.

      3) If my child is mature enough to play an excessively violent video game, it is my decision as a parent to make. So why not make video games like movies, TV and magazines?

      There are also some down sides. Like who makes the ratings? Who handles enforcement? How much tax money is this going to cost? Will this bill have an impact on the game development industry?

      -Rick
      • I play games with my 4 year old; I am by his side. It's all about involvement in what's happening in the games (and movies, and music, and LIFE). Right now, it's limited to Mario, SpongeBob and PowerRangers. When time comes it will be up to ME on how we, or just him, plays games. I do not want the government raising my boy, let me be a man and do it.
        • So what are you going to do when your child gets home from school at 3:45pm and you get home from work at 6:30? At this point, our children are young enough that we can absolutely control what video games they are exposed to. But a 14 year old kid is significantly harder to keep tabs on.

          -Rick
          • His step-mother works 3rd shift. She'll be home when he gets home. She'll make the cookies, she'll be there until I get home. BUT, by the time he is 14, I hope with all my might that I will have taught him well. It's about the eary years as much as the later years. It's still about being a parent, even when not there. To me, today's kids don't have ANY parenting. Today's kids have the games as baby sitters. My son will have things like sports and outdoor activities as well as techy stuff like games
            • I'm glad you have round the clock coverage. Not all families are so lucky. And we all hope that we are good enough parent that our children will grow up well. My own parents were very active in my early years. My mom stayed home, my dad taught me right from wrong, I was in sports and into mechanics/computers. But when I was 14 I smoked, I listened to loud music, I pushed the envelope. That's what being a teenager is about, coming into your own, seeing what you can and can't do. Its not like we can or even
        • I don't understand the whole "the government shouldn't raise kids" argument here. Basically, what the government is doing is give MORE control to parents. Yes, we should all know what our kids are doing, but we should also have standards as to what the rest of the world can sell out kids when we aren't there. My folks let me have a beer every so often when I was a teen, but weren't outraged that it was illegal for Safeway to sell me beer. If you are an adult, this bill has no bearing on you whatsoever.
          • The new part will affect adults, part of it will prevent mature arcade games to be viewable to children, thus most arcades won't buy them, and if the arcades won't buy them, they won't be made.
      • by Qzukk (229616)
        With the advent of live CDs

        You can lock out booting from the cd, then. Don't go about giving up your rights to control what your kid can and cannot do just yet.
        • True, I can lock my child in a dog cage in the basement to keep him safe from the evils of society also. But that would be rather ubsurd, illegal, and all round sickening.

          The same arguement could be made for smoking. Why should the government prohibit the sale of cigarettes to a minor? Shouldn't it be the parents job to make sure their child doesn't smoke? Same for alcohol, pornography, and tatoos. The goverment is giving parents the control.

          The government is not saying that the industry can not make these
          • "Why should the government prohibit the sale of cigarettes to a minor?"

            They shouldn't.

            "Shouldn't it be the parents job to make sure their child doesn't smoke?"

            Yes, it should.

            "Same for alcohol, pornography, and tatoos. The goverment is giving parents the control."

            No it's not. It is taking control away from the parents. Parents would have full control if there was no act on behalf of the government at all.

            "The government is not saying that the industry can not make these games. It is not saying that mi

            • So you are saying that I as a parent should quit my job and stand by my child at all points in time throughout the day to make sure he doesn't leave school at lunch and buy a pack of smokes?

              If so, that would mean that the government would have to pay for our cost of living as I no longer have a job. So yes, we would protect the rights of minors so that they could buy cigarettes at the cost of a huge percentage of our work force.

              "The government does not say that a minor cannot buy an R-rated movie. Why shoul
              • Re:Heh. (Score:2, Insightful)

                by (A)*(B)!0_- (888552)

                "If so, that would mean that the government would have to pay for our cost of living as I no longer have a job. So yes, we would protect the rights of minors so that they could buy cigarettes at the cost of a huge percentage of our work force."

                The government does not owe you the cost of living. You can make a choice to raise your child correctly so that he wouldn't go out and buy cigarettes as soon as you are not there and maintain your job employment or you can take the extreme route you propose. Based o

                • "ased on your opinion, I'd say that it's pretty obvious you were raised by a parent who, instead of teaching you what's right and wrong, stood over you and forced your hand at every instance."

                  Actually no. My parents gave me the freedom to try things while guiding me. And they did a pretty good job. Three honor roll college graduates with successful carreers and new families. All of use with solid ethics and a persuit of right. But that doesn't mean that a teenager is going to make the best decisions, no mat
            • "Why should the government prohibit the sale of cigarettes to a minor?"
              Simple really, Direct tobacco use has long term(150+ year) proven harmful effects to the human body. Minors are adjudged(by the law it is part of the definition) to be unable to make rational decisions and it is the responsibility of the COMMUNITY at large to help them survive till they are mature enough(under the law) to make decisions that have fatal implications.
              • Do you see how in my post that question was in italics and offset? That's because I was quoting someone. Thanks for your reply but it wasn't my question in the first place and therefore, completely out of place. You failed to address any point that I raised in my post.

                Some people obviously need remedial comment reading help.

          • Re:Heh. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Qzukk (229616)
            The goverment is giving parents the control.

            So if you decide your 18 year old kid is mature enough to handle a single glass of wine with a fancy dinner for graduation, you're going to go right on out to the restaurant and ord...Oh wait. The only "control" you have is to take the choices the government tells you to take.

            I have a friend in Europe where this kind of censorship of violence is common. Recently, his customs office seized some movies he bought and tried to import from America, on the grounds he
            • "So if you decide your 18 year old kid is mature enough to handle a single glass of wine with a fancy dinner for graduation, you're going to go right on out to the restaurant and ord...Oh wait. The only "control" you have is to take the choices the government tells you to take."

              I fail to see the problem here. Depending on your states laws, that is perfectly viable. In Wisconsin a minor can drink alcohol if accompanied by an adult. I beleive in Hawii you can not though (My Sis and Mom went when my Sis was 20
              • by Qzukk (229616)
                I fail to see the problem here. Depending on your states laws...

                So its not a problem because sometimes states don't completely take the choice away from you?

                Hello optimist, meet pessimist. I guess we just see the situation differently. You see roses and sunshine, I see child protection taking kids away from their parents because their living environment is "unsafe" thanks to the "dangerous" influence of the 18+ games their parents play.
        • I wouldn't be giving up those rights. Again, there is nothing preventing me from "opting-in" if you will, to purchase a video game for my kid.
          The law doesn't say they cannot PLAY the games, but they cannot PURCHASE them. That, is seems, is a fundamental distinction that is lost on most slashdotters.
      • So why not make video games like movies, TV and magazines?

        How are video games not like movies and TV now? The industry has a voluntary ratings board, just like the other two. Vendors respect those ratings voluntarily, just like the other two. Parents still can't watch everything their children do all the time, just like the other two.

        Bills like this one and the one in California, if applied to movies and TV, would make a movie theater owner subject to $1,000 fine and possible jail time every single time

        • I should have specified, Broadcast TV. Cable is already an Opt In system. And I agree with you, in part. My disagreement is that software vendors do not enforce the ESRB rating like theators enforce the movie ratings.

          -Rick

          • My disagreement is that software vendors do not enforce the ESRB rating like theators enforce the movie ratings.

            Have you checked to see whether all DVD vendors comply with MPAA rating guidelines restricting the sale or rental of R-rated movies?

            Last I checked Best Buy won't sell AO-rated or unrated games, but they do sell unrated versions of movies (some with restored footage that originally prevented them from getting an R-rating in theaters) that had failed to get an R-rating, and I certainly remember seei
            • "Last I checked Best Buy won't sell AO-rated or unrated games"

              Thats good to hear. And if that standard were upheld universally then we wouldn't have any need for a law. I would suggest an independant investigation into local retail outlets and see how widely and consistantly the ratings are enforced. If 90% of all outlets in Florida/Cali enforce the standard 80% of the time, I wouldn't see any need for it. If 50% enforce it 50% of the time, I would probrably argue for an industry group to work on improving
              • "Last I checked Best Buy won't sell AO-rated or unrated games"

                That's good to hear. And if that standard were upheld universally then we wouldn't have any need for a law.


                When GTA:SA got rerated to AO, I didn't hear of a single vendor opting to get the stickers so they could keep selling the relabeled game. Even on-line stores like Amazon that require credit cards to purchase games pulled it from sale.(*)

                So I must have missed something. Can you cite an example of a place selling modern unrated or AO-rated g
                • "Can you cite an example of a place selling modern unrated or AO-rated games over the counter?"

                  I can't say I can beyond a shadow of a doubt. But the question I have is, is this law for AO games? Or M games as well? Or does it define a new standard? Me personally, I would have a hard time selling GTA to a 12 year old kid.

                  "(*) Legislation seeking to keep minors away from sexual content on the web say requiring the use of a credit card before access is sufficient to prove the remote user's adulthood, so why wo
                  • I can't say I can beyond a shadow of a doubt. But the question I have is, is this law for AO games? Or M games as well? Or does it define a new standard?

                    It totally disregards the ESRB ratings and defines it by content, which could include content found in T or E-rated games. It would apply to any boxing game as that sport meets the criteria "maiming", "depraved", "serious physical abuse", and "torture" as it defines them. Wrestling games could also qualify.

                    Though peppered with the criteria "killing", this
      • RingDev (879105) wrote ...

        3) If my child is mature enough to play an excessively violent video game, it is my decision as a parent to make. So why not make video games like movies, TV and magazines?

        Exactly! There is nothing in any of these bills that prevents a parent from purchasing a violent video game for their child.
        I wasn't able to stroll in the the Cineplex when I was 15 and watch an R-rated movie, but I sure as heck could go with my parents.

        • by Pxtl (151020)
          Because games already are like movies and mags - there are no laws protecting minors from violent movies, magazines, comic books, etc. - those laws are all self-enforced by their respective industries. Games are getting the sort shrift because parents don't read the ESRB labels like they read the MPAA labels. And because games are a good scapegoat, the way comic books, rock music, and rap used to be.

          Imho, if such a law is to be applied, it should be applied accross all industries. The game industry compe
          • It's also that while cinemas all seem to enforce the ratings, not all game stores do. It's basically a "you do that or we do that" law. Of course, parents not reading ESRB labels is something that can't be stopped (though I still think that a plain "17+" label instead of that big M with a tiny 17+ in a corner would be more effective) and the politicians are overreacting but the basic idea that if the stores don't all enforce it (just needs one store selling M games to minors and it doesn't matter that all t
        • "I wasn't able to stroll in the the Cineplex when I was 15 and watch an R-rated movie, but I sure as heck could go with my parents."
          There is no government backing to the ratings system for movies.

          Hmmm, what's that similar to? Oh! I know! It's the ESRB ratings system! Same thing.

          Get some facts before you spew this garbage.

          • The difference is that the theator industry enforces the rating scheme. Not the parent. And if a theator was not enforcing the rating scheme and an under age child attended an R rated movie, the parent could theoritically file civil charges against the theator. Your average best buy/comp usa/software etc clerk is not going to ID kids for ESRB-M titles.

            So what you are saying is that instead of having the government enforce the ESRB standards, we should have some lawyers get rich off of sueing retail stores a
      • Actually, unless it is food you certainly can return it. Thats UCC territory there. It comes back to the minor being unable to enter a contract without parental consent bit.


        UCC=Uniform/Universal Commercial Code
        • Now there's a post worth some mod points. Returning open box software to best buy under the pretense that it was purchased by a minor. Thanks!

          -Rick
      • 1. I totally, completely, agree with you about the return policies. I'll suport consumer backslash action against retailers who don't accept returns of undamaged product.

        2. That may be true for the console, but not for the PC. You can lock down what the user can do with the PC with correct user policies (which I'm sure you are capable of doing yourself, seing as you can post in Slashdot ;) ). I don't recall many games lately that don't require some kind of HD install, I think the DOOM CD edition could be
      • With the advent of live CDs

        You say that as if it self-booting game disks were something new.
      • 1) If my child does buy something that I don't think is appropriate, I can not return it.

        Finally, someone comes up with a sensical argument for these types of laws. Well, there are two ways around this that wouldn't involve the government needlessly curtailing freedom of expression:

        1. Force the retailers to accept returns of M-rated games sold to minors. No proof that it was actually sold to a minor would be needed, of course, but what would then happen would be that retailers would refuse to sell M-rate
        • "2. Punish your kid for buying the game."

          And that is a great option. One that I intend on using if and when it is appropriate.

          "...and if he's clever enough to do that in your own house without getting caught, and has enough willpower to only play the game when it's "safe" to, then he's probably mature enough to handle the game's content anyway."

          Exactly :) Providing limits encourages creative thinking to get arround those limits. Gotta love teenagers. If my son grows up to be creative and smart enough to pul
    • If I'm not mistaken, I read on Slashdot not to long ago that wacko Jacko Thompson was put to the task of drafting out a law by our wonderful govener, Jeb Bush. I might be mistaken, but I'm too lazy to go looking for the original post
    • It is the parent's responsability to control and limit their kid's gaming choices, not the government's. I really hope that this doesn't get passed.


      Ah, but the government here is being used as a tool by parents, isn't it?


      In this case parents are saying "if I'm not with my kid, you can't sell him these games".


      Parents have a right to tell other adults not to sell things their kids. The government is an appropriate mechanism for enforcing that.

  • Guns don't kill people, kids who play video games kill people!
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:27AM (#13889188) Journal
    Since state legislators have a harder time pressing the look-over-there-it's-a-terror-alert button, they have to resort to crap like this to save their flagging support.

    FTA:"The bill would likely be a welcome change of tone in publicity for Diaz de la Portilla, who has spent much of the year embroiled in an ethics scandal over his failure to comply with campaign finance laws"

    Given that the bill is nearly identical to the CA bill, doesn't this just seem like a publicity stunt for de la Portilla?

  • ...will someone tell these people to stop doing drugs and use thier brains a little.

    i swear they shoot first (no pun intended) and ask questions later. little things like "what kind of future implications might this bill have" aren't even considered.

    what's it gonna take to get someone with half a brain in office?
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by microTodd (240390) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:39AM (#13889288) Homepage Journal
    If you actually read the bill...

    here [flsenate.gov]

    at first, it doesn't seem that bad. "Violent" is described (para 2) as specifically heinous, depraved, or cruel. In other words, police shooters and military combat games aren't affected. And the bill specifically states (para 5) that parents are allowed to buy or rent violent games for their kids. In other words, if a parent thinks its OK a kid can still play a targeted game.

    So in reality, is this bill that bad? Yes, I know its "parenting by legislation" but from a certain point of view this is no different than not allowing underage kids to buy alcohol. The question, of course, is whether alcohol is better/worse than playing a violent game.

    My personal concern is that if the bill is passed it becomes some sort of "slippery slope" for other legislation. The bill states that playing violent games mentally affects and even damages kids but no scientific evidence is cited. So a bill could be written that says playing soccer is bad without any scientific evidence and it could become illegal.
    • Don't compare it to alcohol, compare it to buying music with those explicit lyrics tags...or allowing underage kids to buy R-rated movies.

      Frankly, it doesn't sound all that different. Except that I'm not positive if there are fines involved with allowing minors to walk off with Sin City or the latest DMX album. I know they were talking about fining movie theaters that allowed minors into R-rated movies, but I don't know whether that went anywhere.

      The "video games are evil" craze isn't really that differ
      • IF retailers had enforced ESRB ratings in the same way as retailers enforce R ratings and PMRC labels
        THEN nobody would be getting worked up about this

        But, everyone here has a story about standing in line at EB/Software Etc/Gamestop behind a 8-12 year old with too much money buying GTA/BMXXX/etc.
        • But, everyone here has a story about standing in line at EB/Software Etc/Gamestop behind a 8-12 year old with too much money buying GTA/BMXXX/etc.

          All the comments I've read here has the parent joining the kid when the front of the line is reached, and that parent becoming indignant over being reminded of the game's rating, effectively saying, "Don't tell me how to raise my kid; that's the government's job!"
          • I've read those comments as well and support horsewhipping for those parents.

            But over the last year I've seen just as many comments about idiot minimum wage clerks not even looking up as the game and cash slide across the counter.
    • I hope it isn't the case, but if Florida's following suit we may have started that slippery slope againt Video Games.

      ""Violent" is described (para 2) as specifically heinous, depraved, or cruel. In other words, police shooters and military combat games aren't affected."

      - I would say that there is a portion of the populace that considers military combat to be cruel at the very least. Would games like Soldier of Fortune get by?

      "Yes, I know its "parenting by legislation" but from a certain point of view

      • If you can do it without landing in jail it's obviously not heinous, cruel or depraved. Soldiers being brought to court for that are the exception and it usually went farther than what you can do in the average WW2 FPS.

        But yes, since our own (german) constitution has provisions for youth protection in the free press rights that is obviously not possible without such exceptions. And the US constitutions doesn't grant those so this law looks unconstitutional to me.
    • thanks for the link, but I think you should read the bill

      First, in the preamble to the bill it states that "the legislature finds that" [to paraphrase, read the language yourself] that minors are likely to be psychologically harmed by exposure to video games and that minors may perform violent acts as a result of video games. This is very tenuous position scientifically (last I checked), but now that language is a matter of law in Florida.

      Second, +++"Violent video game" means a video game in which the opti
  • The way the American government is fighting violence in games and movies makes it seem like there's nothing else wrong in the world. "Oh, we've already solved the problem of real life violence and crime. Now all we need to do is put a stop to all this make-believe violence, and we've achieved Utopia." You'd think time and money would be better spent on more important things, like curing cancer, or feeding the homeless or something.
  • "chilling effect" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joystickgenie (913297) <joleske@joystickgenie.com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:23PM (#13889649) Homepage
    Having this sticker and not allowing the games to be placed in locations that anyone can she them does create a "chilling effect" on video games and it therefore against developers freedom of speech. Developers will feel obligated to avoid any adult content (be it violence, mature plot lines, sexual content) for multiple reasons.

    First, developers are not going to feel obligated to make game to people of all ages only to avoid their game being pushed into a back room somewhere. Financially having good shelf space or location in arcades is important.

    Secondly developers will avoid this content because of the legal reproductions that are possible. When the game ships it could be seen as good enough for all audiences but later in court the jury could decide otherwise. This creates a system that is subjective and open to change depending on who is deciding weather the game is only for adults or not.

    Third, (this one is a little bit tin foil hat) this will allow for censorship on reasons other then violence and nudity. Because of the statement below statement this will allow games to be removed because of ideals or mentalities. For example say there is currently a war going on and a video game comes out with a strong anti government theme. Perhaps you are organizing protests against the country and using underhanded political tactics to undermine the government in order to evoke a revolt (like in the game "Republic: The Revolution"). Because the government is currently active in a controversial situation it could be seen that this game is instilling anarchy in our youth and should not be sold.

    1.a. A reasonable person, considering the game as a 2 whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of 3 minors; 4 b. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in 5 the community concerning what is suitable for minors; and 6 c. Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or 7 scientific value for minors;"

    I'm sure many people would say that point C would ensure that that wouldn't be a problem but it's not hard to say something doesn't have a "scientific value" literary, artistically, or politically when the ideals given are controversial.

    "The principle of free thought is not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate." US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in United States v. Schwimmer (1929).

  • by max born (739948) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:07PM (#13890080)
    Johnson had a War on Poverty, Reagan a War on Drugs, Bush a War on Terror.

    What's next? America's War on Violence.
  • Florida gets whacked by a hurricane a few days ago and this is what's top of mind to fix? Please.
  • If this is the same as the California bill in its definition of "violent", it is a good bill. Not all games that involve shooting or killing are necessarily "violent", since this bill's definition of violence involves torture/mental anguish or force beyond what is necessary to kill the enemy. Most fighting games wouldn't then be considered too violent: every strike decreases the opponent's HP (which has a minimum of 0) and does nothing else to them. There's not much gore, and there's nothing that mentally h
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was in some of the most violent movies... god knows how many kids watched those when they were underage. now hes trying to stop kids from playing violent games? how about making them stop watching those more graphical and violent movies he produced?
  • Next up? A ban on all small plastic army men, water-guns, and action figures...

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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